On the opening day of the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit in Valladolid Spain, this November the mood among 2000 delegates from over a hundred countries was sombre.
A special pleasure for me at the 2011 microcredit summit in Spain was spending time with Nandini Azad, one of the current powerhouses in the Indian anti-poverty movement, who has distinguished herself for path-breaking grassroots development not only in India but also in several other countries.
Despite the preponderance of men on podium of the microcredit summit, it was Muslim women from Pakistan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt, who offered some of the most inspiring leadership models at the sessions in Spain this year.
In a small house in Hamilton Ontario, I was sipping an Indian soup with Ela Bhatt, founder of the one-million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India.
Grassroots women that have set up farm collectives of their own in Kerala have now entered municipal politics where they will take community development to new heights says Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, a Toronto professor and researcher.
Cooperatives run by women are the way to protect marginalized Indian women from the worst aspects of the commercialization of microcredit, says SEWA leader Ela Bhatt and Indian development volunteer Vithal Rajan.
In 2005 I let my imagination fly with a short story set in both India and Montreal. It appeared late in 2005 in The Little Magazine, a literary journal published in Delhi.
A little money goes a long way when you start a business in a small Indian Village